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Learning objects Measures: scaling surface area

TLF ID L2315

Compare the surface area of cubes and rectangular prisms before and after being scaled up (enlarged) or scaled down (reduced). Notice that 'similar shapes' in the mathematical sense have the same shape but different surface areas. Explore the relationship between side length and surface area when scaling solids. This learning object is the seventh in a series of eight objects that progressively increase in difficulty.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students manipulate solids to distinguish between similar and non-similar solids.
  • Students apply a formula to calculate the surface area of a range of solids.
  • Students identify the relationship between side length and surface area in similar solids.
Educational value
  • Demonstrates the relationship between side length and surface area in similar solids.
  • Illustrates the meaning of similarity in solids.
  • Features a range of scalable solids with side lengths displayed in whole numbers.
  • Provides opportunities to use multiplication facts in ratio and scale situations.
  • Includes tables to help students record the relationship between side length and surface area in similar solids.
  • Encourages students to recognise number patterns and make a general rule based on a series of observations.
Year level


Learning area
  • mathematics
  • Mathematics/Measurement and geometry
    • Mathematics/Geometry
    • Mathematics/Generalisations
    • Mathematics/Shape perception
    • Mathematics/Surface area
    • Mathematics/Ratio and proportion
    • Mathematics/Rectangular prisms
    • Mathematics/Size and shape
    • Mathematics/Transformations
    • Mathematics/Scale
    • Mathematics/Scaling
    • Analysis;
    • Application;
    • Comprehension;
    • Knowledge
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Experiment;
    • Analysis;
    • Modelling
    Learning design
    • Experiential learning;
    • Independent learning;
    • Problem solving;
    • Visual learning

    Other details

    • Technical implementer
    • Script writer
    • Name: Rod Rees
    • Organisation: Rees Films Pty Ltd
    • Address: Blackburn VIC 3130 Australia
    • Subject matter expert
    • Name: Howard Reeves
    • Address: Lindisfarne TAS 7015 Australia
    • Educational validator
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL:
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    • Hearing independence
    Learning resource type
    • Interactive Resource
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.